DISCERNMENT {Discern - Discerned}


I have debated with myself as to which comes FIRST – “Discernment” or “Understanding”? And I still haven’t fully made up my mind. However, I believe that it is possible to be able to discern the difference between “spiritual things” without necessarily fully understanding “WHY”.

FIRST OCCURRENCE IN SCRIPTURE {“discern”, “discerned”, etc. = 25 times in 23 verses}

[Genesis 27:23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.]

DIFFERENT “KINDS” OF DISCERNMENT
In this world there exist various kinds of “DISCERNMENT”. It is important for Bible believers to distinguish between “worldly discernment” (i.e. “discernment” that is not spiritual, but which is carnal; human; temporal; and secular) and “Spiritual Discernment” (i.e. “discernment” that is given by God, and which comes directly from God).

EXAMPLES OF WORLDLY (“CARNAL”) DISCERNMENT
Genesis 27:23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.

 

Genesis 38:25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.

1 Kings 20:41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.

Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

EXAMPLES OF SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT {Discernment between good and evil}
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

2 Samuel 14:17 Then thine handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the LORD thy God will be with thee.

2 Samuel 19:35 I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?

1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

1 Kings 3:11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.


Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Malachi 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Job 6:30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?

Ecclesiastes 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

“Discernment” in the Holy Scriptures is demonstrated in the ability to “discern judgment” {either “spiritual judgment” (given by God) or “carnal judgment” (acquired by man)}; or the ability to discern both “time and judgment” {either “spiritual judgment” (given by God) or “carnal judgment” (acquired by man)}.

 

However, the main “meaning” and use of the word discern in the Holy Scriptures has to do with the ability (given by God) to be able to discern between “good & evil”; “good & bad”; “clean & unclean”; and “righteous & wicked”. This kind of discernment is of a “spiritual” nature and can not be taught by man or acquired through carnal means (i.e. schooling).

 

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

I can point out the difference between “good & evil” (as I did to my children as they were growing up), but only God can “teach” genuine “spiritual discernment”.

 

Job 36:22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

 

1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

 

1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

 

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

 

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

IF all born again Christians have received “the spirit which is of God”; and IF all of God’s saints have an “unction from the Holy One”; and IF all of God’s children have received an “anointing” from God; and IF all of us “have the mind of Christ” - then just WHO does the Lord “teach”?

 

Psalms 25:12 What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.

 

When it comes to “spiritual” discernment - God has given us His Holy word - but it is up to us to “study” it; He has furnished us with the “whole armour of God” - but it is up to us to “equip” ourselves with it; and he has endowed (gifted) all of us with the Holy Spirit and “the mind of Christ” - but it is up to us to access His mind and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all “spiritual things”. We are not robots. God has provided us with everything that we need to live Holy lives – but it is up to us to “exercise” our “senses” and make use of all of the things that He has freely given to us.   

 

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

What "senses" could the Scripture be talking about? It surely can't mean our "physical senses" of sight, smell, hearing, tasting, and touch! Of course not! In order for Christians to obtain "spiritual discernment" from God we must "exercise" our "senses" (i.e. our heart; our mind; our conscience; and especially our spirit) in the word of God and in those "things" of God within it in order to "discern both good and evil". Sad to say – most modern day “Christians” in the Western world are so “shot-through” with HUMANISM, that they have very little (if any) “spiritual” discernment!